Imagine a world without food.
Food provides us with the strength to live. When it is the right kind, it supplies the nutrients which our body needs to function well. Jesus also appealed to this universal need for food when he declared:
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (v. 35)
In other words, we need him like we need bread.
Bread was a staple of Jewish life. So when the people heard him, they expected literal food. Besides, Jesus had just fed thousands of them with bread and fish. So his words seemed to imply that there was a lot more bread to be had.
But Jesus meant something deeper.
Physical bread only cures physical hunger. The bread offered by Christ, which is himself, solves humanity’s deepest need.
Christ satisfies our hunger for truth by being the Truth.
He satisfies our need for forgiveness by being the lamb of God who takes away our sins.
He satisfies our need for a lasting relationship by reconciling us to God.
We need new hearts, and Christ gives it.
Our need for community is also met by placing us within the family of believers in Christ, the Church.
Years ago, the great Christian teacher Augustine wrote:
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you.”
This is what we have when we feed on Christ.